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My setting has not had official parent meetings since I started there and I would like to hold one this term. I want to use it primarily as an opportunity for parents to comment on their children's profile and add their own views on their children's interests.

 

I am looking for ideas on format really and shared experience of what works and what doesnt..

 

Issues

1. we operate 9-3.30, when to have the parent meeting? Bearing in mind staff reluctance to do later but also working parents.

2. Some shy or less qualified staff will I know be reluctant to talk to their key children's parents alone.

 

Any help please!! Thank you

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Hi there,

 

We work from 8-5.30 and usually have parent consultations from 5.30 onwards. Any that are unable to attend then, usually make an alternative appointment with the key person. As you finish earlier, some parents may prefer to come in when they collect, in which case you may have to consider whether the child attends too. You could have later ones for the working parents. Depends on your staff, but we do get paid for our extra hours.

 

Some parents asked for more time, so we have extended each slot to 15 minutes. This proved popular when we tried it in November and I plan to do so from now on. It also meant less back-up and waiting time.

 

I usually give colleagues a list of items to talk about, starting with the most important, which last time was to show them the new EYFS folders we had made. I stressed that it did not matter if they didn't get through the whole list, but at least it gives them some confidence about not drying up! I also try to time more experienced colleagues early, so that new ones can observe.However, we soon find that most parents love talking about their children and even the shyest people soon find it undaunting!

 

Good luck :o

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we have tried an afternoon meeting and evening one. To be honest i still do not know which worked the better (afternon one - some dads couldnt come because of work and the evening one babysitting was a problem). I just do the afternoon one now and say if it isnt conveineint i can make alternative arrangements to see parents anoter time. :o

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I have tried various ways over the last decade or so, and for the last couple of years I have done a 'stay and chat' on days when I have additional staffing. Over the course of half a term i encourage parents to make an appointment to cam and chat with me, or their keyperson. This seems to work well. They arrive with their children and spend the first 10 mins or so looking at their children's special files and the work on the wall and then we chat and look through the learning journey. If conversation lapses i bring up their child's photo file on the computer and set it to slideshow, and we talk about what the children are doing or how they felt at the time etc.

Does that help at all?

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We have tended to have an evening meeting which is very informal and gives parents a chance to socialise with each other too. Some parents come together, some dads come alone whilst mum babysits and other families take it in turn to come so they can look after each others' children. In the past we have prepared very short 'reports' so that the key person can share specific information with parents based on their observations, and parents are able to spend time reading their children's observations and looking through their special books. We offer cheese and wine too so that always helps!

 

We're going to do an evening and an 'open day' later this term, I hope so that we can encourage as many people to come in as possible.

 

Maz

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Hi,

We have never had an open evening either and am delighted to see your comments for key person and i was thinking along lines of slide show as well.

Just trying to work out when the best time, whether to leave it a week or two for them to settle back after 2 weeks off or towards the end of this half term.

Any suggestions?

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I thought I would leave it till at least half term to really build up an accurate picture of the children's progress in half a term. I felt that discussing their child before the Christmas holidays would seem a bit too much like distant history with the speed at which young children develop!

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At my Nursery School we have two parent evenings a school year, one in November and one at the beginning of July. The evening slot gives opportunity for working parents to come in. If parent's can't make this date they can arrange to have a private chat with their child's key worker at a time convenient to both parties. We notify parents the date by newsletter and then put a form on the door for parents to fill in against their child's key worker a time slot convenient to them. We run from 6.30 to 8.30pm, staff are paid to come in and parent's although encouraged to try and leave children at home, can bring their family with them, we set up the room as though for a session and so there is plenty for children to do. Each key worker has time to chat to whoever comes, we show examples of child's play, photos and "All about me" booklet's. We ask if the parent's have any questions, worries or just have a chat about their child. I always tell new members of staff that most parents really like to talk to you about their child and have lots to say. If a member of staff feels that a parent is going to be difficult, or that the discussion about their child is difficult, it is arranged that another senior member of staff is at the meeting, for moral (and another person's ear) support.

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